Tales from the world of ICT

Bowled by bowling alley system A new bowling alley opens up near the office where IT pilot fish works, so he and his co-workers decide to try it out — and their manager tags along. The IT team get part-way through entering their names into the bowling alley's automated scoring/game control system when the screen times out, and they find they can't return to the name entry page. "We decided the best course of action was to leave it alone and get the people at the alley to fix it" fish recalls. "This wasn't good enough for our manager, who decided that since he worked in IT, he could fix it. "At this point we tried to hide and pretend he wasn't with us. "A lot of typing and hitting of the screen had the expected results: Every single game, in all 24 lanes, stopped for 20 minutes. Every game was cleared and had to be restarted from the first frame. "And as a group we were politely asked to go to a different bowling alley next time."

Not so automated A software developer is responsible for a daily report to the managers at a semiconductor manufacturing site, reports pilot fish on the scene. "He had put together a process to automatically send out the report every weekday morning at 8am," says fish. "This report was a big deal and he had worked on it for several months to get it automated." The report shows up in managers' in-boxes pretty reliably, although there are occasional problems. When that happens, the developer gets a call and the report shows up again. But eventually the chip business takes a downturn and the developer is laid off. The following week, the report fails to appear in managers' mailboxes. Fish and his colleagues aren't sure what's wrong, so they start looking for the automated process to generate the report. But they can't find evidence anywhere that a batch job was ever set up to run the report. "Finally someone suggested he might have been manually running the report every day," fish says. "'Well,' his manager said, 'that would explain why the report ran three hours late when he was on holiday.'"

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